finetune vs. Pandora

2009-01-13 03:14:56 UTC

The most popular mix-and-match-music app, according to the completely objective score of how often I hear its name, is Pandora.

Pandora's application icon.

Most of this popularity came with their release of an iPhone app back in July 2008. The iPhone app makes the site portable: previously, you could only listen to Pandora while chained to a browser (or a SSB), but now you can listen to it anywhere that’s in cell range.

Pandora now has competition.

finetune's application icon.

It first appeared in AppShopper’s free iPhone apps feed on 2008-11-08, but I didn’t see it then (I probably scrolled past it). I did see it when they released their 1.1.3 update back on 2008-11-31.

Its name is Finetune. Like Pandora, it’s free.

The differences:

  • Unlike Pandora, Finetune doesn’t require an account.
  • Pandora has an option to jump over to the iTunes Store to buy a song; Finetune has no such feature.
  • Finetune only creates stations based on artists; Pandora lets you name an artist, song, album, or composer.

I think Finetune does a slightly better job of selecting songs that are similar to the work of the requested artist. (Sometimes this is hard, as in the case of the Beatles, who produced very diverse work.)

One major drawback to Finetune is that, since it only lets you select based on artist (performer), not composer, it really sucks for classical music. (The service has it, but it’s little better than shuffle-play.) If you want a customized classical station, Pandora is currently your only option.

(Note: I wrote this before Pandora 2.0 came out, but it’s still accurate. If anything, Pandora 2.0 is even better for classical now, since you can now make stations by genre.)

2 Responses to “finetune vs. Pandora”

  1. ssp Says:

    Hm, and I didn’t even know there are services other than last.fm.

    As both the services you mention seem to be vastly US-centric, I wonder how they could be more relevant.

  2. Kip Says:

    finetune also streams to the Wii. pandora does not work on the Wii.

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